Meet Micheline Rychman.
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Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.
Micheline Ryckman lives with her family on a farm in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She is co-owner of Whimsical Publishing, and an accomplished artist/illustrator in multiple mediums. The Maiden Ship is her debut novel, the first in an upcoming series. The sequel book, The Lion of the Sea, is already in the works.
What was your very first commissioned piece of art?
Oh gosh, I’m old, so this is really hard to even recall, but I can tell you that it would have been a traditional acrylic landscape painting on canvas. I did those for years before I ever took up illustration.
Can you pick a favorite quote from your debut, THE MAIDEN SHIP?
I have many favourite quotes from TMS but probably this one:
“Do you know why wildflowers are the most beautiful blossoms of all, my son?”
Dain shook his little head.
Soft waxen curls blew forward in the breeze as she lifted her storm-gray eyes to gaze out over the sea of petals. “Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son—the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot. They root themselves, along with their companions, wherever they are, and they thrive.”
What kicked started your illustration career? Your writing career?
My illustration career was actually kickstarted when my daughter was a teen, she always wanting me to join her while drawing and read her books. And I found that I loved the stories and the art so much more than what I was already doing. It quickly became a passion to produce and create work that young adults could enjoy.
The Maiden Ship is my first novel and my firstborn was only three months old when I developed the story. That was twenty-one years ago. The book didn’t get far back then because the demands of a new marriage, a new child, and so many other life callings forced me to set the story aside. It wasn’t until 2018 that I revisited The Maiden Ship. And that decision was brought on by several major life events: a mix of chronic health struggles, my firstborn leaving home for college (don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy when your children leave home—it is not), and a severely injured drawing arm. Art has always been my lifeline, and when my arm went, and that privilege was taken from me, a bout of depression inevitably followed. It was a tough season, and I was desperate for a creative outlet. I needed something to keep me sane amidst the chaos and pain.
So, I wrote. Typing with my non-dominant hand took some getting used to. The process was arduous, and sometimes I used dictation when the pain was too severe. Yet, word by word, this book saved my life. This tale gave me a reason to wake up each day; it gave me a purpose. I am so thankful for this story. I poured so much of my own personal life journey and lessons into this novel, and I’m hopeful that the premise and messages in this story will speak to the hearts of those who read it.
Was there any scene in THE MAIDEN SHIP that really surprised you with how it turned out?
Not a scene as much as a couple characters that surprised me, Casper and Lydia. They were meant to be simple background characters and ended up demanding much larger roles in the story. Lydia is fierce that way, and well, Casper could charm the fangs off a snake, I never stood a chance.
What character spoke to you the most in THE MAIDEN SHIP?
Definitely Morgan Crouse, or Mo as we affectionately call him. He speaks to my heart and I loved writing his dialogue.
Do you have any current writing project(s)? If so, can you share anything?
I am currently working on two projects actually. One is the sequel to The Maiden Ship, it’s called The Lion of the Sea, the second is a full-length novel of my graphic novel, Charting Stars. I was unable to continue this graphic novel series because eof health problems that prevented me from drawing that much, so I’m super excited to continue this story in novel form!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Just that I’m so incredibly grateful to my followers and those who’ve already read The Maiden Ship, I have been so touched by your kindness and sweet reviews. Thank you all so much!